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still here

At the hospital bedside again – it’s nearly 6 p.m. on Friday, and Mum is still here, waiting for the operation. It’s the first cold snap in Ottawa, with ice and a bit of snow, so perhaps the O.R. is full of people who’ve slipped on the ice. Maybe. Otherwise, it’s infuriating and cruel, leaving this woman lying here waiting for her operation, which was originally scheduled for yesterday and then for 8 a.m. this morning. Though they did warn us – you never know when.

She can’t eat or drink. We did just swab her lips, and the nurse asked her her name, which she knew, and then where she was right now. “Potterspury,” she answered, possibly thinking she’d been asked where she was born. In any case, she’s compos mentis if blurry with painkiller and often incoherent. But often not. When I walked in, she beamed at me and looked around and said, “Is that Dad?” She’s waiting for my brother, who’s my father to her. Dad was in earlier, I said. He’s at home now.

We are all in limbo, waiting, waiting. I feel it like a physical pain, the impatience, the powerlessness. She’s in a machine, which will do with her what it will.

The good news is that Eli and his mother are home. His little throat still barks – when I called, I could hear his harsh rasp in the background. But he’s better, and she has steroids to give to him there. Anna has had a shower and a meal, and she and her roommate are having a Harry Potter marathon tonight, vegging out in the best possible way.

Here I sit. The internet at Mum’s is down, for some infuriating reason – why NOW, am I not isolated enough? But I can check my email and write to you here, when Mum’s asleep. It was extremely cold again today; luckily I can borrow her winter coat, only 4 sizes too big, to keep me warm.

Today I was raging again, about being dragged out of my daily life to wait around like this – I have work responsibilities things to do at home I have my life! And then I realized – this IS my life. This is my life, right here, beside my mother on her final journey. Though if she has anything to do with it, it’s not @#$ final yet.

Over the intercom: CODE ONE TRAUMA EMERGENCY. That’s probably Mum’s slot in O.R. We’ll be here for weeks.

An hour later: Here we still are. And I have to say – that this time together, this Friday evening, has made everything worthwhile. Unlike Miss Whinyboots above, I am profoundly grateful for being here. Mum knows I’m here watching over her – keeping vigil, making sure the nurses do too. We’ve talked. When her tiny East Indian nurse came to check something, Mum whispered, with a big smile, “What an adorable little thing.”

I teased her about the night nurse, a very sweet man called Peter, and how she has always been a flirt. A big grin. “I couldn’t help it,” she said.

Maybe limbo isn’t such a bad place to be.

9 p.m. Back at Mum’s. She has just been called to the OR. Peter says he thinks she’ll make it through, she’s in such good shape tonight. And all I can say to that is to quote my beloved Wayson:



4 Responses to “still here”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Beth, Sounds like a frustrating situation. Hang in there. Hope your mom's surgery will be 100% successful. Ask at the Nursing Station on your mom's floor if there's a volunteer on duty who could grab you a coffee, or sit with your mom while you take a quick break. Take good care. Love, Arlene.

  2. beth says:

    Thanks for the advice, Arlene. I am on this journey with so many friends and blog readers – it's a gift.

  3. theresa says:

    It's important to be in the right place at the right time. Everything else can wait — and you won't have regrets. Best to all of you.

  4. beth says:

    Thanks, Theresa. We do what we can. It's just when there's two right places at two right times that's hard …

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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